A '''cannon''' is any piece of artillery
that uses gunpowder
or other usually explosive-based propellants to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber
, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield. The word ''cannon'' is derived from several languages, in which the original definition can usually be translated as ''tube'', ''cane'', or ''reed''. In the modern era, the term ''cannon'' has fallen into decline, replaced by "guns" or "artillery" if not a more specific term such as "mortar" or "howitzer", except for in the field of aerial warfare
, where it is often used as shorthand for autocannon
Technology of the Song Dynasty#Gunpowder warfare|First invented in China
, cannon were among the earliest forms of gunpowder artillery, and over time replaced siege engine
s—among other forms...